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London at night
by Lynda Archard
©: April 2002

Some facts on prostitution: b>

Jodi Foster had to undergo psychiatric evaluation by the California Labor Board before playing the role of 'Iris' in the film 'Taxi Driver.' She was a minor and therefore the board had to determine whether she was capable of handling the controversial role.

The area of Amsterdam's red-light district originally was filled with houses of ill repute and myriad distilleries. The distilleries are gone, but the oldest of professions flourishes. Prostitutes display themselves in windows under red neon lights.

During the fifteenth century, Venice ordained that local Italian prostitutes would bare their breasts while soliciting at open windows overlooking the city’s famous canals and walkways. The ruling was intended to separate the city’s 'professional' women from the general female and to encourage young men to purchase the prostitutes’ and avoid the unspeakable sins of masturbation and homosexuality.

Hookers got their title during the Civil War when General Joseph Hooker, of the Union Army, tried to boost morale by allowing prostitutes access to his troops. 'Hooker’s girls,' shortened it to 'hookers,' and the name stuck.

Mary Anne Nichols, Martha Turner, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, and Catherine Eddowes were London prostitutes who were murdered and dismembered by the notorious 'Jack the Ripper' in the autumn of 1888. The perpetrator of these chilling atrocities was never found, although many theories as to his/her identity persist to this day. (More information on the 'London links'page.

It was reported in 1992 that freelance Dutch prostitutes would have to charge sales tax. To encourage them they could write off items such as condoms and beds. The ruling stemmed from a 1990 court decision in The Netherlands that it was unfair to exempt self-employed prostitutes from the tax-charges at brothels.

First Lady Hillary Clinton was featured in a 1995 magazine ad for the same Brazilian lingerie company that hired Divine Brown, the prostitute who had been caught with actor Hugh Grant. A photograph was taken during Hillary's Brazil trip, in which she unwittingly displayed a panty line under her tight skirt.

Originally, the adjective 'meretricious' meant of, like, or characteristic of a prostitute.


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